Walking with the Wind by John Lewis
A Memoir of the Movement

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Forty years ago, a teenaged boy named John Lewis stepped off a cotton farm in Alabama and into the epicenter of the struggle for civil rights in America. The ideals of nonviolence which guided that critical time of American history established him as one of the movement's most charismatic and courageous leaders.In "Walking with the Wind", John Lewis recounts his life with the fierce simplicity for which he is known, both in public and private. It began in rural poverty but within the bosom of a loving and resilient family. It has ranged across almost every battlefield in the most dramatic struggles for racial justice -- from Selma to Montgomery to Birmingham and beyond.Lewis's leadership of the Nashville Movement -- a student-led effort to desegregate the city of Nashville using sit-in techniques based on the teachings of Gandhi -- established him as one of the movement's defining figures and set the tone for the major civil rights campaigns of the 1960s, from the Freedom Rides of 1961, during which Lewis was repeatedly brutally beaten and imprisoned; to the 1963 March on Washington, where his fiery speech thrust him into the national spotlight; to his selection as the national chairman of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), which he helped shape and guide; to the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" attack at Selma, where Lewis suffered a fractured skull during a tear gas attack by Alabama state troopers. Lewis, as a participant in the movement, was to be, and remains, utterly true to his boyhood hero, Martin Luther King Jr., as a believer in the philosophy and discipline of nonviolent social action.In 1966, Lewis was ousted as SNCC chairman by Stokely Carmichael, who represented the emerging militant "Black Power" direction of the movement. Two years later, Lewis joined Robert Kennedy in his 1968 campaign for the presidency. He was with Kennedy moments before he was assassinated.Lewis, committed to the principles of nonviolence, spent the next decade organizing and registering four million voters in the South. In 1986, he sought a United States congressional seat in a campaign against his old friend, comrade, and former SNCC colleague Julian Bond. Lewis won the seat in a great upset and serves in Congress to this day.John Lewis tells his story of struggle in the civil rights movement, of comradeship in that community, of its battles and triumphs, and of his own persevering faith with great charm, candor, and humor.

About John Lewis

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Lewis has been the Representative for the 5th U.S. Congressional District of Georgia since 1986. Michael D'Orso is the author of more than a dozen books, including "Plundering Paradise," "Like Judgment Day, Like No Other Time" (with Tom Daschle), and "Walking with the Wind" (with John Lewis).
Published October 18, 1999 by Mariner Books. 496 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Lewis served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and his analysis of rivalries between SNCC and the more mainstream, bourgeois Southern Christian Leadership Conference (headed by Martin Luther King) and his candid assessment of notable players (King, Stokely Carmichael, ...

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Publishers Weekly

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After being forced out of SNCC because of internal politics, Lewis served in President Carter's domestic peace corps, dabbled in local Georgia politics, then in 1986 defeated his old friend Julian Bond in a race for Congress, where he still serves.

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(CNN) -- As a child, Georgia congressman John Lewis knew he was the "different seed" from the rest of his cotton farming family in 1940's Troy, Alabama.

May 26 1998 | Read Full Review of Walking with the Wind: A Memo...

Project MUSE

With exposure to James Lawson, Jim Bevel, Diane Nash, and numerous other people who eventually would form the core of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis's quest for justice and equal access soon launched him to the forefront of the American civil rights movement.

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